Even before rigorously testing the vaccine for use on the humans, a Chinese pharmaceutical company has reportedly administered thousands of people with an experimental Coronavirus vaccination.
The state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm told on Monday that it had vaccinated more than hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens against coronavirus, even though the crucial phase 3 clinical trial is yet to be concluded.
Three Coronavirus vaccine undergoing Phase 3 trials in China
Two experimental vaccines by China National Biotec Group Co., a subsidiary of state-owned Sinopharm, have been given to people under an emergency-use condition approved by Beijing in July. China has also authorised the third coronavirus vaccine dubbed as ‘CoronaVac’, developed by the privately-owned Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech. The company has claimed that it has vaccinated 3,000 of its employees and their family members with its experimental vaccine.
The three vaccines are still under the scrutiny with Phase 3 trials, which determine the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing the virus from community spread. Besides these 3 Chinese vaccines on the anvil, the World Health Organisation claims that there are six other leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are in the final phase of preparation.
The emergency domestic approval for urgent use of coronavirus vaccine in China came on the heels of its overseas testing. In July, Sinopharm had started phase 3 trials of its two vaccines in the United Arab Emirates while one of the two vaccines also began trials in Morocco and Peru in August this year. The privately-owned Chinese drugmaker Sinovac initiated its phase 3 testing for ‘CoronaVac’ in Brazil in July and later in Indonesia the following month.
Authoritarian regimes like China and Russia have shown little regard for the completion of the phase 3 trials
It is usually the regulatory bodies in the individual countries who decide if the vaccine is safe enough to be tested broadly on a larger population, especially when the Phase 3 clinical trials were yet to be concluded. Democratic countries such as the US, UK and Germany, where few of the vaccine candidates have emerged, have not yet permitted the vaccination of people outside of clinical trials.
The only countries which have provisionally allowed the vaccination outside the clinical trials are authoritarian regimes of China and Russia. While China has not reported any roadblocks in its vaccination program, analysts claimed that cutting short or bypassing the phase 3 trials might prove risky and could subject citizens to unforeseen complications. The perils are even graver in China, where the vaccine producers have antecedents of scandals which were hushed up by the media controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.